The Harrah's Chefs Stage Buffet is like a fat kid's dream. Food from across the globe lines the buffet... truly an eye-popping, mouth-watering sight. They have food for any palate: Italian, Mexican, Asian, comfort food, BBQ, a soup and salad bar and a bevy of desserts!
It is not your typical buffet where you might expect quality to be compromised for quantity. The food is simply amazing. Each month on Fridays and Saturdays one of the many talented chefs at Harrah's is being featured. This month is Chef Jay McCarter.
Chef Jay has created some fabulous Cajun dishes that rival anything we've ever tasted. From the Red Beans and Rice to the Voodoo Gumbo and the Garlicky Cheese Grits to the Chicken Fricassee, it's absolutely worth the trip to Harrah's.
We were honored to get some one-on-one time with Chef Jay and do an exclusive taste test.
Chef Jay McCarter has hooked us up with the recipes for the dishes he's serving up. These are our favorites:
Chef Jay’s Voodoo Gumbo
This dish sings with the rhythm and flavors of New Orleans. Let this dish take your taste buds down Bourbon St. and into the French Quarter. This is a classic that you and your friends are sure to love.
Preparation Time: 3 Hours
Serving Size: 8 people
Skill Level: Intermediate (2 Chef Hats)
Drink Pairing: Riesling
1/3 C. All-purpose flour
¼ C. Bacon fat
1/3 C. Ea. Celery, Onion, Bell pepper medium diced
1 garlic clove minced
6 oz. Andouille sausage
4 ¾ C. Beef broth
1 Tbls. Tabasco
½ Tsp. Blackening seasoning
2 Bay leafs
½ Tsp. Dried thyme
16 oz. Stewed tomatoes
6 oz., Tomato sauce
1 Tbls. Gumbo File powder
1 10 oz. frozen cut okra
6 oz. Crab meat
1 ¼ peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 ½ Tbls, Worcestershire sauce
Make roux by whisking bacon fat and flour over medium heat, until dark brown. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and sausage. Cook 15 minutes or till vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients except for the shrimp and crab meat. Simmer for 1 hour over low heat. Add shrimp and crab and simmer for another 10 minutes or till shrimp is done.
I’m in Hog Heaven Red Beans
With pork incorporated into the dish 4 different ways, these red beans are hog heaven. Pair this dish with any entrée and it might just be the star.
Preparation Time: 2 ½ hours
Serving Size: 8 people
Skill Level: Intermediate (2 chef hats)
Drink Pairing: Ica Cold Beer
1 Pound dried red beans
3 Tbls. Bacon Fat
¼ C. Diced Tasso ham
1 ½ C. Medium diced onion
¾ C. Ea. Medium diced celery and bell pepper
3 Bay leafs
2 Tbls. Chopped parsley
Salt, Pepper and cayenne to taste
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
½ pound smoked sausage cut into 1 inch sections
1 pound ham hocks
3 Tbls. Minced garlic
10 C. chicken broth
Chopped green onions for garnish
Place beans in bowl or pot and soak with water being at least 2 inches above, overnight. Strain. In large pot add bacon fat over medium heat add Tasso. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add Onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then add garlic salt, pepper, cayenne and bay leafs and cook till vegetables are tender. Add sausage and ham hocks and cook till sausage is brown. Add Broth and beans, and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove ¼ of the beans and mash then return to pot and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Take out bay leafs and serve over rice. Top with chopped onions for garnish.